Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on July 27, 2020
The Paper: The US Consulate General in Chengdu was closed this morning. Do you have more information to offer on that?
Wang Wenbin: On July 21, the US launched a unilateral provocation by abruptly demanding that China close its Consulate General in Houston. China lodged stern representations over this with the US side, asking it to immediately revoke the erroneous decision, otherwise China would make a legitimate and necessary response. On July 24, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China told the US side to close its Consulate General in Chengdu.
This morning, the US personnel vacated the compound and the US Consulate General in Chengdu was closed as required by China. Competent Chinese authorities then entered through the front entrance and took over the premises. Demanding the closure of the US Consulate General in Chengdu and taking over the premises is China’s legitimate and necessary response to the unjustified US act of closing China’s Consulate General in Houston and breaking into the compound. What China has done conforms with international law, the basic norms of international relations, and customary diplomatic practices.
The current situation in China-US relations is not what China desires to see, and the US is responsible for all this. We once again urge the US to immediately retract its wrong decision and create necessary conditions for bringing the bilateral relationship back on track.
Kyodo News: The Chinese leadership often talks about the bottom line mentality, which I understand to mean preparing for the worst case scenario. So what is your bottom line in China-US relations?
Wang Wenbin: As I just said, we urge the US to immediately retract its wrong decision and create necessary conditions for bringing the bilateral relationship back on track.
The Straits Times: Last Friday, we saw reports that a Singaporean man was convicted in the United States of spying for China. What is China’s response to this?
Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of what you just mentioned. But I would like to point out that lately US law enforcement has been busy hyping up the so-called China infiltration and espionage issues to the point of paranoia. It is open knowledge that the US runs an aggressive espionage and theft program all across the globe, sparing not even its allies. There’s solid evidence for this.
The world has seen the act of the real thief crying “stop the thief” too many times. We urge the US to stop using the so-called espionage issue to smear China.
AFP: On the Chengdu consulate, do the US consulate employees have to leave China and what about the Chinese consulate staff in Houston? Have they also been ordered to leave the US?
Wang Wenbin: I’m sure you have already seen from media reports the conditions of our Houston Consulate General staff. I will just say that the Chinese side will make proper arrangements for them.
BBC: I think you referred to the US side breaking into the compound in Houston. Could you explain a bit more about that?
Wang Wenbin: China’s Consulate General in Houston is China’s diplomatic and consular premises and state property. According to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the China-US Consular Convention, the US side shall not infringe upon the premises in any way. The Chinese side deplores and firmly opposes the US forcible entry into the compound and has lodged solemn representations.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: The Australian government wrote to the United Nations last week, saying China’s territorial claim in the South China Sea has no legal basis. What’s China’s comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea were developed throughout the long course of history. They are upheld by successive Chinese governments and in conformity with international law including the UNCLOS, which won’t be altered by certain countries’ wanton accusations.
China firmly opposes the Australian side’s comments which run counter to facts, international law and basic norms governing international relations.
Reuters: Chinese state media said this morning that Chinese officials were able to enter the Consulate General in Chengdu via the front door. If I may ask, why was the door of the Consulate General in Houston locked?
Wang Wenbin: As I just said, China’s Consulate General in Houston is China’s diplomatic and consular premises and state property. According to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the China-US Consular Convention, the US side shall not infringe upon the premises in any way. The Chinese side deplores and firmly opposes the US forcible entry into the compound and has lodged solemn representations.
This morning the US Consulate General in Chengdu was closed as required by China. Competent Chinese authorities then entered through the front entrance and took over the premises. This is China’s legitimate and necessary response to the erroneous US act.
CGTN: Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently cited his article in Washington Post titled “What Mike Pompeo doesn’t understand about China, Richard Nixon and U.S. foreign policy” on Twitter to criticize Secretary of State Pompeo’s speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library. In his words, “Pompeo’s China speech on Thursday not only misrepresented history but advocated a policy for the most important relationship of this era that is neither viable nor coherent. That he delivered it at the Nixon Library only added insult to injury.” I wonder what is your comment on his words?
Wang Wenbin: Pompeo negated every aspect of China-US relations over the past 40 years, flagrantly attacked the CPC and called on countries to gang up on China. His outrageously deranged words have been criticized and condemned by all people who love peace and have a sense of justice, including those in the US.
Pompeo’s accusation of “CPC’s designs for hegemony” is out of not only ignorance but also bias. The CPC started with only dozens of members, and today it has grown into a major party with over 91 million members and has long been the ruling party in the world’s most populous country. The reason for it, which Pompeo’s ignorant of, is that the CPC always puts people’s interests as the first priority, and always sticks together with the people through thick and thin. As revealed in a research recently published by the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University, under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people’s overall support and satisfaction towards the Central Government exceeds 93%. According to a research result released by Edelman, 95% of the Chinese people trust the Chinese government, ranking the top of all countries surveyed, while the US is the second to last with trust from only 48% citizens.
The CPC’s goal is to realize the great renewal of the Chinese nation, not replacing the US. In the end, the international status of the US depends on itself, not others. The CPC is a political party that strives for the well-being of the Chinese people as well as the progress of mankind. China champions and practices the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China is the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the Security Council, and has been contributing to the peaceful settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and other regional and international hotspots, as well as the response to climate change and other global challenges. In recent years China has contributed over 30 percent to the world economic growth, and has helped a lot in the international response to the financial crisis in Asia and the global financial crisis. These are all facts witnessed by the whole world, which cannot be erased by Pompeo.
Pompeo was calling for an anti-China coalition in his speech, but he seems to have forgotten that in the 21st century, instigation of hatred and confrontation runs counter to the trend of the times. The US gains no support in trying to reverse the wheel of history. Pompeo talks all about safeguarding democracy and freedom, but he doesn’t represent democracy and freedom at all. He serves the US hegemony and the interest groups behind him. But long gone are the days of ideological confrontation. The world today is on an unstoppable trend towards multi-polarity.
It has been almost half a century since President Nixon’s visit to China. The development of China-US relationship over this period of time taught us that a steady and sound bilateral relationship grows only when there’s equality and mutual respect. China doesn’t intend to change the US, and the US surely cannot alter China. We would like to develop China-US relations featuring coordination, cooperation and stability, but we reject any bullying and injustice. The Chinese people are not weak-kneed, and the world is not easily deceived. We urge a few US politicians to stop slandering the CPC and the Chinese people and undercutting China-US exchange and cooperation. We call on all peace-loving countries and people to step forward and say no to the insanity of Pompeo and his like that jeopardizes world peace.
RIA Novosti: I just wonder if you could explain what is the difference between the closure of the consulate in Chengdu and the one in Houston? Why is it that Chinese officials have the right to enter into the American consulate and American officials have no such right?
Wang Wenbin: The US, in serious breach of international law and basic norms of international relations, launched the political provocation first. China definitely has the right to react in equal measure to defend its legitimate rights and interests. This conforms with international law and basic norms of international relations.
BBC: Would it be fair for us to say in our reporting that the only reason Chinese officials went into the Chengdu consulate is because US officials went into the Houston consulate first? In other words, if the US had not gone into the Houston consulate, Chinese officials would not have gone into the Chengdu building, right?
Wang Wenbin: As I just said, demanding the closure of the US Consulate General in Chengdu and taking over the premises is China’s legitimate and necessary response to the unjustified US act of closing China’s Consulate General in Houston and breaking into the compound. What China has done conforms with international law, the basic norms of international relations and customary diplomatic practices.
CNR: According to Russian media, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said during online consultations with her Chinese counterpart on July 24 that Russia and China have become the primary targets of the US information warfare, and stronger interactions between the two sides in the media sector are more important than ever. Given the current situation, what is the special significance of the Chinese and Russian foreign ministry spokespersons’ consultations?
Wang Wenbin: On the evening of July 24, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson and Director General of the Information Department Hua Chunying held consultations via videolink with Russian foreign ministry spokesperson and Director of the Information and Press Department Maria Zakharova.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses a threat to life and health all over the world. China and Russia are responsible major countries and comprehensive strategic partners of coordination. The information departments of the two foreign ministries have always maintained good working communication, institutional consultations and cooperation in relevant areas. Against the current backdrop, the two sides agreed that disinformation is a common enemy of the international community. Countries should strengthen solidarity and coordination, jointly reject disinformation so that political viruses such as rumors and slanders and the perpetrators and manipulators behind the scene will have no place to hide. Information released must be based on facts. Countries should not adopt double standards, interfere in others’ internal affairs or level groundless attacks against other countries’ political system, development path or state governance based on ideology and political prejudice. The two departments agreed to maintain communication, strengthen cooperation, jointly combat disinformation, offer an accurate account of facts and truth, champion law and justice, and uphold morality and conscience.
China Review News: According to media reports, the Canadian British Columbia Supreme Court recently published the court files submitted by Meng Wanzhou’s legal team. The files show that the United States purposely misled the Canadian government and court by improperly and significantly tailoring the key elements of evidence to support its charges of “bank fraud” against Meng Wanzhou. These proceedings have been poisoned and can no longer be reasonably regarded as fair and the Canadian court should stay them, according to the files. What is your comment?
Wang Wenbin: We note relevant reports. The Canadian government should explain to the public the problem with the US evidence. Of course we’ve heard that the US is discouraging it to do so. The evidence published by the Canadian court clearly reveals that the case of Meng Wanzhou is a serious political incident manufactured by the US to oppress Chinese hi-tech firms including Huawei by abusing its extradition treaty with Canada. At the behest of the US, Canada detained Meng Wanzhou without cause, which led to the current difficulties in China-Canada relations. Canada is acting as a cat’s paw for the US. It has been used by the US to serve the goals of a few American politicians and the interests of American businesses. This is a clear fact to not only China, but also people with vision in the US, Canada and beyond.
I must point out that the longer the Meng Wanzhou case drags on, the greater harm it will bring to China-Canada relations. We hope Canada can see through the US political agenda, properly resolve this incident based on its own merits and Canadian interests, remove obstacles in China-Canada relations, and bring the bilateral relationship back on track through concrete actions.
AFP: Can you clarify if the only reason China’s entry into the US consulate was legitimate was because the US did it first?
Wang Wenbin: The US, in serious breach of international law and basic norms of international relations, launched the political provocation first. China definitely has the right to react in equal measure to defend its legitimate rights and interests.
CCTV: Senior US officials of the Department of State, the Department of Justice and the intelligence community said on July 24 that China’s Consulate General in Houston has long been engaged in theft of business secrets, illegal activities and even espionage, and its actions went well over the line of what was acceptable. They claimed that closing the Consulate General in Houston is to disrupt those activities and deter similar activities by Chinese officials in other consulates. I wonder what is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: The US claims are baseless smears.
China’s Consulate General in Houston was the first opened after bilateral diplomatic relations were established. For 41 years it has been promoting mutual understanding, communication, cooperation and friendship between the two countries. It has received wide acclaim from all walks of life in the South. Local media reported that the region benefited a lot from this Consulate General as China is the second largest trading partner of the Houston region, and this consulate served as a bridge of tourism, trade and cultural exchange. Local officials also expressed astonishment on the closure, hoping to see peaceful settlement and reopening of the Consulate General. The US allegations pale next to these facts. If it wants to blame others, it will always find excuses to justify its acts.
As I believe you have all seen lately, out of motives to contain China and grab selfish gains, a few US politicians have been fabricating rumors and escalating provocations against China. Their measures include wanton restrictions on Chinese media agencies and personnel in the US, expulsion of many Chinese journalists in all but name, oppression of Chinese companies under the pretext of national security, blatant slanders against the CPC and China’s political system, unwarranted interrogation, harassment and even detainment of Chinese students and scholars in the US, etc. It is obvious that those anti-China politicians are deliberately attempting to disrupt China-US relations and turn back the wheel of history, which is criticized by a growing number of people speaking for rationality and justice. On July 25, experts and scholars from 48 countries held a conference and issued a joint statement, which says “We note the increasingly aggressive statements and actions being taken by the US government in regard to China. These constitute a threat to world peace... We therefore believe that any New Cold War would run entirely counter to the interests of humanity... We support China and the US basing their relations on mutual dialogue and centering on the common issues which unite humanity.”